Discernment: Recognising the Presence of Spirits

Wild or Domestic is an interdisciplinary conference to be held in Helsinki from 20th to the 22nd of September.

Discernment is a key skill in many traditions concerned with non-physical, non-ordinary beings, whether in the context of shamanism, spirit possession and mediumship, or spirit release therapies and ghost hunting in contemporary post-industrial societies. How do practitioners know that spirits are present? How do practitioners distinguish between what they perceive to be an external, ontological other and the ‘normal’ self? What methods are employed to make this distinction? Inherent in such questions are issues relating to the nature of personhood and consciousness – what exactly constitutes a ‘person,’ and what is ‘consciousness’? This workshop will explore the theme of discernment from a range of different cultural contexts, and will discuss the implications of traditions of discernment for wider questions about the nature of consciousness and self.

Convenors:
PhD candidate Jack Hunter University of Bristol, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, UK
Dr. Fiona Bowie, King’s College London, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, UK

Dr Terence Palmer will be presenting evidence of how Spirit Release practitioners can discern the differences between different types of spirit. For a pdf of all abstracts for the workshop click on this link. Helsinki Abstracts – Discerning Spirits.

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A quote from John McGinnis, co-author of The Resurrection of Clifford McGinnis

On the validity of evidence of a spirit world and the value of channelled information, John McGinnis writes:

“My confirmation of the reality of the spirits comes from several sources.  We begin with relatives who can talk about early years and events unknown to the medium.  I also examine the quality of the information, does it help in a pragmatic way?  With historical figures you can compare the commentary to the history books.  From a psychologist’s perspective, it is good to look for pragmatic results, changes in mood and mentality, dissipation of grief and depression, loss of fear of death.  A big flood of joy comes from these channelled readings.” John McGinnis.

The Resurrection of Clifford McGinnis

The Resurrection of Clifford McGinnis is the eighth book in the series Heaven Can Help by John and Martha McGinnis.

Here are some comments from critics and reviewers:

CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR THE SPIRITUAL READINGS OF JOHN AND MARTHA McGINNIS

“Why should we lose contact with the world’s great thinkers just because they happen to be dead? John and Martha McGinnis show that the conversation can go on and on. This book is a great feat of invention and a remarkable re-knowing of the past, and as provocative as it is delightful.”

Richard Brodhead, President and William Preston Few Professor of English, Duke University, formerly Dean of Yale College.

“I find these passages frankly astonishing. It happens that a number of these are authors I know fairly deeply, from their works and from having read so many biographical studies and memoirs about them. To me the speakers’ reflections on their own life situations and work ring true—and at the same time open new doors, in places, in my own understanding and experience of them, their times, and their work. As a remarkable form of reflective literary criticism alone, these passages are valuable and valid.”

Gordon Wheeler, PhD, President, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California.

“These spiritual readings provide moving and encouraging accounts that are sensitive to the scholarship of our times as well as to the needs of our age. Reflective readers, believers and skeptics alike, will enjoy their contribution to the interior life.”

Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College, formerly Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament at Yale, author of Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography, Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography, and Mary Magdalene: A Biography.

“The work of John and Martha McGinnis raises fundamental questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship (or lack thereof) to the brain. Evidence is abundant that human beings can acquire information non-locally, beyond the confines of the brain, body, and the present. This book demands thoughtful consideration by anyone interested in the most complex entity we know: our own minds.”

Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind.

“The word ‘interspiritual’ is not yet in your dictionary—but it is written on the heart of every religious and spiritual tradition. Interspiritual is a word that points to the deep unity that is the source of all religious and spiritual traditions. This deep and luminous core is manifest in the life and teachings of Jesus, Saint Francis, and Lao Tzu. It also resonates throughout the teachings of the Buddha, Swami Vivekananda and Guru Nanuk. These readings point to the interspiritual truth that beats in the heart of all religious thought. I find these readings not only interesting but also provocative and inspiring. If your mind and heart are open, I’m willing to bet you will agree.”

Reverend Robert V. Thompson, author of A Voluptuous God.

“What a wonderful piece! I was delighted by the whole construct, convinced by Aristophanes’ tone, and struck by some of his answers (my favorite is the comparison between heaven and his writing). The engagement with some hotly debated issues in drama (size of theater and relationship with ritual) is just right. And I loved of course the references to the voices of nature. I also loved Juvenal the sports fan and the exchange about the British! The part about his view of comedy and satire today rings very true.”

Professor Pauline LeVen, Yale University, Department of Classics, author of The Many-Headed Muse: Tradition And Innovation In Late-Classical Greek Lyric Poetry.

“Ask anyone; whether they are a believer or a skeptic, if they have ever had an unexplained mystical or spiritual experience and they will probably admit to it (quietly) despite mainstream Western science’s denial that a spirit realm exists. For those who are intrigued and seek explanations this book provides answers with remarkable clarity. My own education in such matters began with a personal encounter with the spirit of Lao Tzu who took possession of a client whilst in a hypnotic trance. For the scholar of mystical experiences, this volume offers valuable opportunities for detailed study, and I sincerely hope that one day the academic world will embrace the opportunity to examine these writings with the true scientific rigour of objective enquiry that they warrant—to the benefit of us all.”

Terence Palmer, PhD, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, author of The Tao Of Natural Cycles.

“What would the great thinkers and spiritual leaders of the past have to say about the present world? Something very much like the conversations contained in this volume. Decide for yourself their ultimate source, but there is no denying that these remarkable discussions offer interesting insights into the featured speakers and also a fascinating account of worlds beyond this one.”

Kermit Roosevelt III, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, author of Conflict Of Laws, The Myth Of Judicial Activism, and In The Shadow Of The Law.

“In this profound and brilliant volume, you will learn the answers to questions asked throughout history, as well as receive insights to live your best life now. I highly recommend this fascinating collection of interviews.”

Randy Peyser, author of The Power Of Miracle Thinking.
“John, Martha and Clifford McGinnis continue to offer us comfort and hope through

their uplifting books, reminding us that we do not die, because our consciousness lives on.” Susan R. Dolan RN, JD, coauthor of The End-of-Life Advisor: Personal, Legal and

Medical Considerations for a Peaceful, Dignified Death.

“Who needs pollsters to gather what people are thinking when there are psychics available instead?”

Patrick Gavin, Politico book review, discussing the “historical icons” interviewed by John and Martha McGinnis.

“A wide-ranging discussion that will help readers discover a richer spiritual life.” Kirkus Review.

Get your copy from Amazon Kindle here.